Twitter Circle is now available to everyone

31 Aug 2022

Image: Twitter

Twitter began testing this feature in May. It is similar to Instagram’s Close Friends option and lets users keep certain tweets private.

Twitter has launched its Circle feature globally, which lets users post tweets that are only visible to a select group of people.

Similar to Instagram’s Close Friends feature, Twitter Circle tweets can only be viewed by up to 150 people that are selected by the user.

People can be added in or taken out of this group at any time. This means users can pick who can see and engage with their content on a tweet-by-tweet basis, and gives users the ability to keep certain tweets private.

Twitter began testing this feature in a limited beta in May. The company said the results were “overwhelmingly positive” and has now made the feature available for everyone on iOS, Android and the Twitter website.

Tweets sent to a user’s Circle appear with a green badge underneath them. These messages can only be seen by users within the Circle and can’t be retweeted (although screenshots can still be taken).

All of the replies to Circle tweets are also private, even if the Twitter account is public. Twitter said the beta of this feature resulted in increased overall tweeting by users and a higher rate of engagement – such as likes and replies – on Circle tweets.

Users have said that the feature allows them to create a community and have a space where they can be more honest in their messages.

Twitter added that the feature could help eliminate the need for users to have secondary accounts, or to constantly toggle their account between public and protected.

But concerns were raised earlier this year that the Circle feature could exacerbate harassment on the platform by creating exclusive communities that could evade being reported.

Twitter’s track record with new features has been a bit hit-and-miss in recent years. The company rolled back its decision to default to an algorithm-based timeline in March after receiving pushback from users, and it retired its Fleets feature last summer just eight months after introducing it.

Last month, the social media platform rolled out the option for a user to ‘unmention’ themselves in a conversation. Twitter has also confirmed it is working on an edit button that will let users change the text of their published tweets.

The latest update comes as Twitter’s future remains uncertain. The company is locked in a legal battle with Elon Musk, after the billionaire Tesla boss decided to back out of a $44bn takeover deal.

Meanwhile Twitter’s former head of security recently made claims of “extreme” security issues at the company, which has grabbed the attention of both EU watchdogs and the US government.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic